57 years…

And in a couple of months, the last active duty P-3 squadron will transition, ended an era. The reserve squadrons will keep flying them for a couple of more years, but sunset is here…

When I first got in P-3s it was to operate these systems…

Acoustics- Listening to sonobouys…

Non- Acoustics… Radar, MAD, ESM (No, that’s not me in the seat)

And today it’s all computerized…

Hours and hours at those stations, chasing subs all over the Pacific and Atlantic… And part of the reason I’m as deaf as I am, but I wouldn’t trade it, or the shipmates I flew with for the world.

We’re dinosaurs…


TBT… — 22 Comments

  1. Is ASW a small community?
    My MOS was Preventive Medicine (later Environmental Health Technician), and that was a small enough crowd that we had an NCO and a CO rotate into our small section that our NCOIC had served with before in Korea.
    I ask, because I just remembered a mentor I had, who spent most of his Navy career flying ASW. He was likely before your time, though; I know he was retired when I met him in 1988. Herb Lotz retired as what I believe you Navy guys call a “captain,” us Army troops referred to the rank as “colonel”.
    He was a role model for me, and I essentially adopted him as a father.

    And yes, we are dinosaurs. I met my son’s ROTC enlisted instructor yesterday, what we called Command Sergeant Major, and the Air Force calls Command Chief Master Sergeant. Before we met him, I was attempting to instill in my Kenneth just what a big deal Chief Deese was. And I told him the average troop doesn’t get to meet the Command Chief, except maybe on two occasions. First is when you have done something so bad that you are likely to be executed. Second is when you have already done something WONDERFUL in the service, and you decided you are going career, and you want to re-up for this particular school that only accepts 1% of applicants.Then, your NCO sends you to the Command Chief, because he knows everything, knows everybody, and can have favors done.
    I did my best to describe him as a combination of John Wayne, Denzel Washington, with a bit of Gandalf thrown in there.
    Then we meet Chief Deese. He looks MAYBE 30 years old at the max. Heck, my last Command Sergeant Major (in 1975) had WWII service, and if my recollection is right, he was already an E-7 in Korea. There is NO WAY the Chief had Viet Nam era service.

    Yup. We are dinosaurs.

    • One of my late son’s cherished possessions was a “challenge coin” he received from the then Command Sergeant of the Army while serving as a medic at Kandahar.

      Circa 1965, the 37th Engineer Group SMaj had WWI combat hashes.

  2. I had a friend, now sadly passed, who was a crewman on P-3s. I recall that he didn’t much care for Adak.

  3. Sic transit gloria mundi – It happens to all of us if we live long enough to see the changes. Some are good and some are not so good, and when it comes to the military, we don’t know whether it will work or not until people are shooting at us. The infantry and rotor aviation has been throughly blooded in recent wars, but not the navy and not the fixed wing warriors. That remains to be seen.

    • There are some Navy guys who have been blooded over the last couple decades, but they have been kept out of the public eye. And the fixed wing warriors have played a significant role in keeping many of the ground pounders safe and sound …

      and yes, growing old to see the changes, even if we don’t like them, is better than the alternative.

  4. Pat- Yep, first Master Chief was an AP in WWII, flew fighters off the Enterprise. NOT the same today.

    Jim- LOL, nobody liked Adak, trust me!

    LL- Point, although Navy carrier guys have gotten some combat time in the last 16 years.

    Tom- Good point.

  5. God, that brings back memories. I think I sat here for 10 minutes or more, just going back and remembering. Somewhere out in the garage stuffed in a box, I have still have my old pre-flight checklist. Those were indeed very good times.

  6. Settin’ here trying to remember the nomenclature on all the boxes. P3B SS3 station. Radar, Mad, ECM operator. I’ve worked on every one of ’em. Boy, you sure know how to stir stuff up.

  7. Goodbye to loiter slow and long. Yet another capability that the bean counters and jet boys never seem to understand.

    Plus, well, always liked the Lockheed Electra, I mean the P-3. She was a workhorse.

  8. Ray/Flugel- Don’t it though…

    Beans- Agreed.

    Dan- Not yet, but we’re losing a lot of folks every year.

  9. Hey Old NFO;

    I know change is necessary, but sometimes it sucks. Kudo’s to the P3 guys that kept the Soviets honest. I have worked in the successor and it is a nice plane but the P3 has character.

  10. Can anyone tell me if the P-3 acoustic gear recorded on some big honkin’ tape reels? There was a compartment off of CIC that analyzed such tapes.

    Adak: We had a guy come on board for a WESTPAC tour who had come from a tour at Adak. He seemed quite pleased to not still be there.

    • Yes, we recorded all the data on 10″ 16 track or 32 track tapes. The compartment off of CIC was probably the ASW Module (ASMOD) portion of the operations department. I worked in the ASMOD on the USS Carl Vinson and the USS Saratoga.

  11. Started Army Rotary Wing Aviator Course 51 years ago on 1Feb.
    I was 21. It seems like yesterday until I reflect on memories.
    I bet you’re doing the same.

  12. Ray:
    Thanks. I knew it was ASW-related. I was one of the NTDS techs on the Constellation CV-64.

    Short True Sea Story: I was supposed to hop on a helo to deliver some critical part to an escort ship. At the last moment, our Chief decided they couldn’t afford to lose me if the helo went down (dammit, I REALLY wanted to go)and subbed a more-expendable(!) crewmate. And… the lucky bastard spotted a periscope with his naked eyeballs! Helo lowered some sorta sonar and pinged it with an interrogation. They had found one surprised US sub who had been shadowing the task force. We had been getting kinda harrassed by the Soviets for a while, y’see…

  13. I wonder how many men developed frontal lobe cancer from the old style 10″ CRTs. Thank you for your service.

  14. Now your new P-8 Poseidons are getting a lot of touch & go time here in Billings, MT. I suspect they’re out of Whidbey Island.

  15. Bob- Thanks!

    Robert/Ray- Exactly. 10″ 14 and later 28 track tapes on glass or metal reels.

    GB- Yep…

    Robert- LOL that happened more than once… A Victor tried to surface in the middle of a US task force in Westpac, and smacked the keel of the Kitty Hawk! 😀

    Ed- Probably a lot of us…

    Gary- Yep! And they get airways time too!

    CP- Understood.

  16. RE the Kitty Hawk: I would love to have been on the bridge when it went “thump” just to hear what choice words were uttered! Shouldn’t a sub know what is above it?

    Aside: I was on the Connie bridge (I had legit business there, honest!) while we did flank speed 360s in Puget Sound.
    Captain: “‘Gator! Where are we? I don’t wanna run aground!”
    Commander: “How the hell should I know?! You’ve got us going in circles!”
    Fun times.